Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Baker Challenge - Cheesecake Pops

Last month I joined The Daring Bakers. This is a group of awesome people who love to bake. This month we were asked to bake Cheesecake Pops. They are bites of cheesecake, stuck on lollipop sticks, then dipped chocolate. Freaking YUM! They were a big hit at work and a even bigger hit with my tummy!

Cheesecake Pops
Adapted from
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionery coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)
Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 °F.
2. Set some water to boil.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
4. Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a spring form pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes. (It actually takes more like 1 hour to bake. Just make sure you bake until the cake is firm)
5. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
6. When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
7. When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety. (Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.)
8. Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionery chocolate pieces) as needed.Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

The yummy yummy batter

Batter in oven bath ready to go in oven

Cooling cake.....yes I HAD to taste it before it completely cooled. Freaking knee weakening good

Scooping process

It is a good idea to have a some hot water near by to rinse the spoon between scoops

Ready for the freezer

I dipped a few balls in strawberry jam but that didn't turn out good. Once it was placed in the freezer the jam stuck to the parchment paper. Oh well.

Chocolate dipping process

END VERDICT - 5 stars

The cheescake was extremely smooth and creamy and the chocolate just took it to another level. I will being making recipe again, sometime soon. Make sure you check out the what the other Daring Bakers did!
Special thanks to our hosts for the month Elle and Deborah!

Until then,
Happy Smacking!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Strawberries & Cream Biscuits

What do you do when a life of baking gives you left over ingredients? More baking perhaps? That would correct if it wasn't a weekday night and I didn't just finish a day of working and mothering. I rarely bake on the weekdays anyway.

I have half a pint of cream leftover in my refrigerator from making some ice cream (I will post about it before the end of the week). I want to use it up so I put my thinking cap on. I remembered that I brought some strawberries over the weekend and I have some Pillsbury Grands biscuits in the freezer. Eureka I got!

Strawberries & Cream Biscuits
(1 serving)
1 Pillsbury Grands biscuit (or any type of biscuit you like)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp granulated sugar
6 strawberries
1. Cook biscuit according to package.
2. Slice strawberries and set aside.
3. Pour cream in a bowl with sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
4. Combine the strawberries and whipped cream and set aside until biscuit is done.
5. Slice the biscuit in half after it is done and place the bottom half in a bowl. Top with cream filling then place the other half on top.

END VERDICT - 5 stars
This is an easy, versatile, weekday dessert and you can change it according to you taste and what you have laying around the house. Do you have some peaches that need to be eaten today? Cut them up and toss them into the whipped cream. It is not an extremely sweet dessert so you won't feel too guilty about eating it.
Until next time,
Happy Smacking!